The Bombay High Court bench of Justice Manish Pitale at the Nagpur seat on Tuesday refused to grant any relief to two men, arrested for hoarding and selling Remdesivir, one of the essential medicines to treat COVID-19, at inflated rates. The bench was hearing a petition filed by one Shubham Arjunwar, who was arrested in April, this year.
Arjunwar had challenged the orders of a sessions court, which allowed the prosecution to furnish additional evidence at the fag end of the trial. He claimed that by allowing filing of additional evidence and supplementary chargesheets would cause prejudice to his case.
Having noted the facts of the case, Justice Pitale observed, "A criminal trial is required to be fair to all the stakeholders i.e. the accused, the prosecution and the victim. The purpose of a criminal trial is to ascertain the truth about the allegations levelled against the accused persons and it is not just about about over technicalities and over-zealous protection of rights available to the accused."
"A criminal trial to be conducted in a fair manner has to be undertaken as an objective and unbiased search for the truth so that justice is done to the stakeholders i.e. the accused, the prosecution and the victim, avoiding injustice in the process," the court added.
As regards the instant case, the judge said that it was in the interest of the society to furnish all the relevant material before the sessions court.
"It is not only in the interest of the victims, who form part of the collective that all relevant material is brought before the Sessions Court in the trial, but, it is also in the interest of justice and in furtherance of the search of truth that such material is placed on record," the judge said.
Noting the timeline of the case, the judge said that the accused were arrested in April and were chargesheeted in the month of May and subsequently in June the charges were framed against them.
"In May, this court had passed orders, directing that trials in cases where there was black marketing of life-saving drugs like remdesivir, which were being sold at astronomical prices, proceedings ought to be undertaken swiftly," the judge pointed out.
"Fair trial in such situations needs to be viewed from the perspective of all relevant material being placed before the Sessions Court so that the truth of the charges levelled against the accused can be ascertained," the judge observed while dismissing the petition.
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